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Genetically Modified Grain

Powerful Essays
Genetically Modified Grain

Thesis: Genetically Modified Grain has many benefits and problems which have become very controversial. While these problems need to be addressed, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. GMO grain should be grown and foods containing them should not be required to bare a label.

Introduction

Genetically improved crops are not a new phenomenon. Plants have been selectively crossbred for centuries to develop heartier and more productive hybrids. Now, Biotechnology offers us the ability to transfer desired traits into plants much faster and more selectively by merely transplanting the desired gene into the grain. Genetically Modified Grain (GMO grain) is now available to the public. It has the potential to revolutionize the agriculture industry by giving us the potential to substantially increase yield, lessen the strain on the environment, improve economics for farmers, and help meet incredible demand for food that will come as the population nearly doubles in forthcoming decades (Knutson, 1999). However, GMO grain also has its drawbacks. It has been extensively tested, but ultimately, the long-term health outcome to humans and animals is unknown. GMO grain is highly technical and expensive to research and develop. There is the possibility that larger companies will form a monopoly. Also, there are many ethical issues to consider including the development of terminator technology-a gene inserted into seeds that causes the next generation of seeds to be sterile.

Benefits

One example of a genetically modified seed that is commonly used today is Bt Corn. The Bt gene that is used comes from bacteria-Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt.). It has been used in sprays and powder form for years. Recently, this ...

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...pany Letter. May 19, 1999.

Hein, Pam and Weinzierl, Kathy. The Pentograph, "Do American Consumers Accept Genetically Altered Foods?" Sept. 27, 1999.

Knutson, Ronald. Omaha.com. "Genetic Crops Protect Environment." Sept. 15, 1999.

Minnichsoffer, Tony. Novartis Media Release, "Novartis Commits $450,000 to Public Science Education to Expand Ag Biotech Awareness." Sept. 1999.

Novartis Seed Publication. "Biotechnology Talk Points." Oct. 1999.

Shonsey, Ed. Novartis Company Letter. Sept. 1999.

Web Resources

www.tt/comm.com/ensign/terminator/terminator.html available: Nov. 4, 1999.

Edwards, Rob. "Devilish seed" [Archive:Oct. 10, 1998]. available: Nov. 4, 1999. www.newscientist.com/ns/981010/nseed.html

" 'Terminator' Technology Threatens World Food Security." March 1999. available: Nov. 4, 1999. www.gaiabooks.co.uk/environment/terminatorseed.html
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